* A high-intensity practice followed by a shorter walk-through, with multiple offensive, defensive and special teams scenarios.
* Kevin Prince was pretty much at the same pace, handling a few reps, primarily handing it off and barely throwing. For the walk-through, he was with the first unit though.
* Joseph Fauria got the most reps he’s gotten since the beginning of camp, and looked pretty good. He’s still not 100 percent, but Neuheisel expects to put him in the game plan against Kansas State.
* Freshman running backs Malcolm Jones and Jordon James returned, and each got extensive time with the first unit. Jones is a known quantity – big, fast and strong – but James really opened some eyes with his quickness. Moves into and out of the hole very, very quickly.
* Linebacker Glenn Love was back at full-go after his stinger had him in a red jersey for a few days. Ricky Marvray was also back at full-go.
* Kicker Kai Forbath (groin) was out of the training room, but didn’t practice.
* Damien Thigpen had a very nice interception in team drills, which pitted the first team offense against the first team defense. Thigpen poked his way into the path of the ball out of nowhere and took Richard Brehaut by surprise. Brehaut had his moments, good and bad, but he at least looks much more confident in there.
Check out the latest batch of weekly answers…
UCLA head coach Rick Neuheisel:
“Unfortunately, he got a little over his skis in terms of what he took in his spring quarter and it blew up on him. He’s trying to be a (physical) science major – and that’s a very difficult major – and he took two upper division classes and he got over his skis. I know there were other factors that led to the poor quarter, but it’s unfortunate that quarter schools have a little harder road to hoe in terms of how units you have to pass. There aren’t two-unit classes, only four-unit. And we bear the brunt of it. But everybody knows the challenges, and we’re not going to cry about it now.”
* The big news of the day is the denial of Jeff Baca’s appeal to the NCAA to reinstate his academic eligibility. UCLA head coack Rick Neuheisel said there are further steps the school can take, but he’s not sure of the protocol just yet. Baca’s loss is huge to a line already reeling, but with his foot injury, the coaching staff has prepared for his absence for some time. In related news, he was off crutches today.
* Kevin Prince threw less than yesterday on trainer’s request, and at this point, you really have to wonder if he’ll be back. Prince did extensive work in the running game, but the throwing remains limited. Neuheisel all but ruled him out for Friday’s scrimmage.
* Darius Bell was back at 100 percent after missing practice with a sore arm. Ricky Marvray remained limited by a sore back and Jordon James is still working his way back in.
* Joseph Fauria continues to improve, and his return seems imminent.
* Saw some good things out of the passing game today, and heard a few people talking about Anthony Barr. One fellow media member said he’s unlike anyone he’s seen at UCLA, comparing him to a better Mike Williams (USC wideout).
* Videos up soon of Neuheisel, Andrew Abbott and Tony Dye.
ESPN’s Jay Bilas tears down the angle that Ben Howland’s system “holds back” players in an Inside article. Because it’s insider, I won’t cut-and-paste more than a couple paragraphs, but here’s the gist of it:
“Excuse my French, but the perceptions about UCLA’s style are absolute crap. Howland has been a winner everywhere he has been, but especially at UCLA. He guided the Bruins to three straight Final Fours while placing numerous players in the NBA. While there is no argument that a team like North Carolina plays a different — and faster — style under Roy Williams than Howland does at UCLA, there is no empirical evidence that the style difference negatively affects the NBA future or draft status of Bruins players relative to Tar Heels players. In fact, the evidence suggests the opposite.”
“This preposterous urban myth about UCLA and Howland is just that, a myth. It is based upon a perception that Westbrook and Holiday are having better pro careers than they did college careers, and that the only “logical” explanation must be that Howland held his stars back. That is nonsense. The more likely explanation is that Howland is not kissing the tails of those believing themselves to be influential in the summer basketball culture, and they are spreading nonsense about Howland and his offensive philosophy.”